Web Survey Bibliography

Title Consequences of the forced answering option within online surveys: Do higher item response rates come at the expense of participation and answer quality?
Year 2016
Access date 29.04.2016
Presentation PDF (615KB)
Abstract
Relevance: Too often online surveys are conducted without adequate attention to implementation details. One example is the frequent use of the forced answering option, which forces the respondent to answer each question in order to proceed through the questionnaire. The avoidance of missing data is often the idea behind the use of the forced answering option. There has been a tremendous increase in the use of this option; however, the inquirers are often not aware of possible consequences.

Research Question: Currently, only a few studies have researched the impact of forced answering on different quality parameters (e.g. dropouts, item nonresponse), with inconsistent results. To date no study has systematically examined effects of forced answering formats on answer quality. Given the rise in the popularity of online surveys in general and the frequent use of the forced answering option in particular, the impact of forced answering on data quality needs to be addressed. Our study assesses the consequences of the implementation of the forced answering option on dropouts as well as on answer quality. Our major hypothesis is that forcing respondents to answer will cause reactance, which in turn will decrease answer quality and increase dropout rates.

Methods and Data: To analyse the consequences of the implementation of forced answering option on response behaviour, we use split-ballot-field-experiments. We already conducted two studies (n=1056 & n=615) with differing experimental conditions and a third is ongoing. To determine answer quality, we use instructed response items, self-report for faking and other self-reports.

Results: Our results show a significant increase in dropouts and higher percentages of fakers under the forced answering condition. Both can be interpreted as reactance behavior arising from the force to answer each question in this condition.

Added Value: So far, no study has systematically examined effects of forced answering formats on answer quality. Our Paper address this issue.
Year of publication2016
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
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Web survey bibliography - Germany (639)

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